When the Government Is the Slum Lord

The Center for Investigative Reporting has an excellent analysis of the absolutely reprehensible housing agency for Richmond, Calif, up in the Oakland area. The Richmond Housing Agency management would be called slum lords if they were private landowners:

The Richmond Housing Authority is running a nearly $7 million deficit and has to repay $2.2 million for past contracting mistakes. The federal government is threatening to take control of the housing authority this year if key financial benchmarks are not met.

In 2012, Richmond failed to collect more than $157,000 in rent from tenants, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s most recent inspection.

As its finances spiraled out of control and residents’ basic needs went ignored, the authority spent lavishly, records show.

Its executive director, Tim Jones, charged hundreds of dollars on meals in New York and Washington, including a roughly $400 meal at an upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant where a strip steak with truffle fries runs $41.

The meals cost as much as many public housing tenants pay each month in rent.

Jones’ pay also increased about 30 percent over three years as the authority ran up debt.

Amy Julia Harris goes into detail about all the contracting problems, the resident complaints, the frustrations of the federal government over the mismanagement and the defenses by the city’s mayor, who would no doubt be calling for the owners head on a plate if these were private apartments and not publicly subsidized housing. Instead it’s Barack Obama’s fault for spending money on wars and bailing out banks. No, really; if you don’t want to read all of Harris’ reporting, watch the KQED segment below:

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  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "The federal government is threatening to take control of the housing authority this year if key financial benchmarks are not met."

    You know you're messed up when the federal government expresses concern about *your* finances.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Instead it’s Barack Obama’s fault for spending money on wars and bailing out banks."...

    The man's off-message here; it's BUSH's FAULT!
    BTW, Scott, the Chron has been turning over whole pages to the CIR. I guess they can't be worse than the former staff.

  • ||

    In 2012, Richmond failed to collect more than $157,000 in rent from tenants

    That doesn't sound like a slum lord, that sounds like an unaccountable government bureaucracy who doesn't give a shit because it's not their money. Slum lords want their damn rent and they will make sure they fucking get it, because that's their income. A government property caretaker? What do they care? They get money regardless.

  • Scott S.||

    Further down in the full story she also talks to folks who have to deal with them losing their rent checks and charging them late fees so they're screwing everything up coming and going.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    The Richmond Housing Authority is running a nearly $7 million deficit and has to repay $2.2 million for past contracting mistakes.

    Well, the good news is that $157k is less than 2% of the problem.

  • Andrew S.||

    Is this the same city that wants to use eminent domain in some kind of boondoggle involving underwater properties?

  • paranoid android||

    They'll never get it past the powerful mermaid lobby.

  • Sevo||

    I'd forgotten; yes, it is.
    And some of the properties were bought many years ago and *became* upside down.

  • Invisible Finger||

    First thing I thought of.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • Hyperion||

    Instead it’s Barack Obama’s fault

    Whoa.... Blasphemers!

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    The Richmond Housing Authority gets about $26 million a year from the federal government to provide safe and decent housing for the needy.

    Cut to the bone.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Is there anything the Feds don't subsidize?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Freedom.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Is there anything the Feds don't subsidize?

    I was trying to give my son an example about inflation the other day. My first thought was a chocolate bar because it is a simple thing. Then I wondered how much of the increase in price was related to the minimum price of sugar and how much because of inflation. So I tried to think of something in which the only way the government meddled was inflationary money. The list was really small and I wasn't even certain about it.

  • Tonio||

    Chocolate bar works if you use the simple model of WW2 where the govt increased demand for chocolate bars, pre-negotiated prices, and rationed the number of chocolate bars going to non-government markets. Also creating a...

  • Hyperion||

    The cupboards are bare...

  • playa manhattan||

    There's nothing safe or decent about living in Richmond.

  • amelia||

    Seriously, it's one of the most depressing places I have seen, and I've lived in East Oakland.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If only there were some sort of system based on using resources efficiently. You could "keep score" by tracking whether you had more or less money at the end of the month. If you ran out of money, you'd go hungry.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Government means never having to admit you're broke.

  • Hyperion||

    Government means never having to admit you're broke to anything.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Note to Reason: the new fangled mobile interface with swiping to switch articles sucks balls.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    And pop-up ads on mobile are not cool.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Pop-up ads aren't cool anywhere.

  • Bananafish||

    It's horrific. If I don't make a perfect vertical swipe, and I mean PERFECT, I am taken to the next article automatically.

  • ||

    Is that what's going on? I was going crazy trying to keep the page from loading the next article down.

  • Bananafish||

    I think so. If I brace my finger against the left side of the screen and swipe carefully, it seems to work.

  • Terr||

    Does it still reload the page when turning the phone in iOS?

  • ||

    Not that I've noticed. I don't turn mine to the side that much though, so I could be wrong.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    It did as of this morning. Fucking developer squirrels.

  • ||

    The Richmond Housing Agency management would be called slum lords if they were private landowners

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

    Why the fuck not just call them slum lords?

    "Slum lord" is not a legal term. There is no exemption.

  • Tonio||

    Why the fuck not just call them slum lords?

    Josh, Josh, Josh...

    Because slumlord is a term most often used by SJWs and other unsavory types against capitalists working the gritty parts of the system. They have to be efficient because the margins are thin.

    Government is inefficient but is championed as caring.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Financial malfeasance isn't even the half of it. When the government is your landlord, you lose all manner of rights. It's a key cog in the total welfare state, and unfortunately, poor blacks have been herded from the plantations in the rural south where they didn't have any rights, to inner city government housing projects where they don't have any rights. Welfare like this is just barely veiled racism, and even more unfortunately, poor blacks have been persuaded by Team BLUE that these programs are what is going to save them from evil white Republicans.

  • Sebs||

    while this sort of language is pretty clever, i dont think many blacks are going to be fooled into believing the welfare state is their enemy. not only do they benefit from these handouts, but the welfare state is a major employer of blacks throughout the country. in maryland, we have a whole black upper middle class that is made up of guys like Tim Jones.

  • Tonio||

    The low functioning poor of all races, not just blacks; exploitation not racism. But other than that you nailed it.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "Obama gave $29 trillion to the banks" - the 'Green Party' mayor said.

    Complete idiocy from the left.

  • Hyperion||

    We expect nothing else. And Shreeky is the leftiest lefty in all the left.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Protecting Obama from attacks coming from all directions, I see.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, its funny how a centrist president gets the both moonbats and the wingnuts lying and bitching about his policies. The moonbats attack him incessantly for his "Republican" hatched private insurance ACA.

    WE WANTED SINGLE PAYER!! OBAMA YOU TRAITOR!

    And I don't mean "centrist" as a compliment.

    Now the wingnuts are complaining that he is "showing weakness" in the Ukraine. But if he pulled a Libya style no-boots-on-the-ground kill they would complain about that.

    The far left and far right are fucking idiot havens.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The far left and far right are fucking idiot havens.

    So why is it that you do your bitching and moaning here where THERE ARE NO FAR LEFTIES OR RIGHTIES?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Everyone here bitches and moans.

    Someone else would think Marcotte and Yglesius hold office the way they are bitched about.

  • Hyperion||

    Do you have posters of them on your wall, right behind your Obama and Buffet statues? You do don't you? Just admit it.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I think he has them hung above his Soros alter.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|2.20.14 @ 7:22PM|#
    "Yeah, its funny how a centrist president"...

    Yeah, dipshit, we should get one of those.

  • GILMORE||

    ". But if he pulled a Libya style no-boots-on-the-ground kill they would complain about that""

    Just when I think you've scraped all the retard out of the barrel, you regurgitate something new and surprise us all.

    Are you fucking high? As though anyone has tabled, 'assassinate Yanukovych' as some kind of 'option'? WTF are you even talking about.

    You seem to be under the impression that any criticism of Obama's horrible foreign policy behaviors is some kind of endorsement for a fictionalized alternate universe where everything is BOOOOOOSHx911!! INVADE EVERYWHERE@!!!

    and pretending there's someone else here broadcasting live from Idiot Haven is a remarkable feat of projection. Please, go back to talking about how wonderful Soros is, or something, because that's at least amusing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Quit pretending that there is not a significant faction of Obama critics (like yourself) that want to see him start a war and bungle it Bush/Cheney style.

    If (IF!) he did that you could then talk about his "horrible foreign policy" with meaning.

  • Hyperion||

    Yes, you are totally on to us. We can't wait for Obama to start another war and kill a lot of innocent people, because he's not already killing enough people via his drone fetish. You're a fucking genius.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I was talking about liars like Charles Krauthammer.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|2.20.14 @ 7:57PM|#
    "I was talking about liars like Charles Krauthammer."

    We were talking about liars like you.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I was talking about liars like Charles Krauthammer

    Gotcha. In that case go pollute Hot Air or PJ Media instead.

  • GILMORE||

    "
    Palin's Buttplug|2.20.14 @ 7:45PM|#

    Quit pretending that there is not a significant faction of Obama critics (like yourself) that want to see him start a war and bungle it Bush/Cheney style"

    What in your twisted little fantasy world gave you the impression *anyone* wants Obama to "start a war". provide a single citation.

    It doesn't seem you've actually READ a single criticism of Obama. Such as =

    - his complete abandonment of Afghanistan after throwing an additional 20,000 troops in.

    - his utter inability to do anything even remotely resembling 'strategic policy' in the middle east, such that all Arab Spring movements think of the US as a dishonest actor, and has zero pull with any interest group in places like Egypt; Can you even DESCRIBE what the hell the Obama Admin's 'end goal' is there? And what they're doing to get there?

    - a mishmash of incoherency in regards to how to balance US policy w/ Iran v Israel. It takes true, gargantuan incompetence to have Israels tell US Diplomats "you're a retard and we don't want you involved anymore". Such that now Kerry is trying to threaten 'boycott' and Netanyahu is telling him to piss up a rope.

    http://news.yahoo.com/israeli-.....37984.html

    And where in any of this, you drooling fuckwit, is there any 'agitating for Obama to engage in a failed war'?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Oh, I see. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are total clusterfucks so Obama's foreign policy is a failure?

    They will be clusterfucks no matter the action of a POTUS and will be so for decades. Obama's strategy is to spend as little treasure there as can be reasonably expected.

    No new cowboy-style shoot-em-ups!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Obama's strategy is to spend as little treasure there as can be reasonably expected.

    Well he certainly fucked that up.

    No new cowboy-style shoot-em-ups!

    Except in Libya, which he bombed, and Syria, were he nearly bumbled into war and now sends rifles to rebels.

  • ||

    "...a centrist president.."

    Yeah, and dont forget he is an ardent defender of the second amendment.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Two pieces of gun legislation signed since 2009 - both expand gun rights.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Three actually - the plastic gun ban was extended I think. GOP House is anti-gun on that one too.

  • Jordan||

    One was a Republican amendment to the CARD Act. Obama opposed the amendment, but didn't want to trash a piece of signature legislation over it.

    No idea what the other one you're referencing is, but I'm sure it's bullshit too.

    Meanwhile, he proposed the most sweeping gun control regs since the AWB.

  • Sevo||

    ..."but I'm sure it's bullshit too."...

    Easy bet with asswipe as the subject.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    National parks and then later Amtrak holds.

    No bullshit from me.

  • DH||

    *In a Borat voice* I suppose that makes up for all the anti gun legislation he supported..................NOT!!!!!!

  • mr lizard||

    Is anybody else experiencing random refreshes and page changes while using iPhone Safari on this site?. Fucking retardulous

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The mobile site sucks balls. It refreshes every minute or so.

  • Hyperion||

    This site is practically unusable outside of Chrome.

  • ||

    Is that just on a phone? Because I use Firefox on my computer, and I'm not having any problems at the moment.

  • Hyperion||

    I have load issues with Firefox and IE (a long running script, sound familiar?). I just gave up and started using Chrome with Reasonable, exclusively for H&R.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Even on Chrome it takes forever to load.

  • Bananafish||

    Yes. I think you have to make a perfect vertical swipe and if you deviate more than, say, 2 or 3 degrees in either direction, you will be taken to the preceding or following article. It's awful.

  • ||

    Yes, the mobile site individual pages (the only way I can see comments on my iPod) is unusable.

  • Mokers||

    What can you expect from the leaders of Richmond? They were doing important stuff like banning plastic bags and trying to get a soda tax passed.

  • Hyperion||

    Right, they need even more stuff to fund and manage on top of all the other things that they already can't fund or manage. It's the government way.

  • Paul.||

    Its executive director, Tim Jones, charged hundreds of dollars on meals in New York and Washington, including a roughly $400 meal at an upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant where a strip steak with truffle fries runs $41.

    He'd be doing SO much better in the private sector. Sacrifices!

  • Sebs||

    I wonder what Tim Jone's qualifications are for running an agency that size.

  • Hyperion||

    Look at political connections. Mission accomplished.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    OT:

    He may be a "POS socialist," but he makes H&R commenters sound like Miss Marple -

    “Sometimes negative news does come out, but it is often exaggerated and manipulated to spread scandal. Journalists sometimes risk becoming ill from coprophilia and thus fomenting coprophagia, which is a sin that taints all men and women, that is, the tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive aspects.”

    http://www.faithfulnews.com/ma.....r-nice-guy

    And there's more insults where that came from - "Pickled pepper-faced Christian," "Leprous courtier" and more, in the *Pope Francis Little Book of Insults* -

    http://thatthebonesyouhavecrus.....sults.html

  • JeffreyinSandySprings||

    it is not the place for government to provide housing for people. Nor is it the responsibility of government.
    Not a single one of these people in this video(with the exception of the blind ex serviceman) claimed any responsibility for being in public housing in the first place.
    Is it really any surprise that government has completely mismanaged these projects. They have always been an economic trap for the poor keeping people in poverty instead of moving them to a higher economic class. With the money that is taxed and wasted by government these people should be able to live in comfort but like all things that government touches it is terrible

  • SweatingGin||

    Vaguely related to government as a slum lord:

    There's always talk of all the vacant houses in Detroit. A significant number of those are owned by the city or county. The city government has been working to demolish some, and I assume are trying to sell off others, but can't handle the number of them. They likely don't even know all of the ones they own.

    So they end up being blight, never put up for sale, 'cause no one figures out it should be (or other incompetence.)

  • Tonio||

    Because there is such a glut in the housing market in Detroit many of those abandoned houses are practically unsellable. And by practically I mean that the price which anyone is willing to offer for those houses doesn't yield enough profit to cover the Realtor's expenses. Plus, financing and insurance are hard to get for areas with marginal police and fire.

    If they were smart they'd let people homestead, but that would be too simple and require relaxing too many rules.

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